Over 23 illegal immigrants drown off Libyan coast

Aid workers for the IOM provide assistance to migrants who were intercepted off the Libyan coast, at the Abu Sitta disembarkation point in Tripoli, Sunday, May 9, 2021. [Photo: AFP]

A boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya on Monday, leaving at least two dozen presumed dead, the U.N. refugee agency said. It was the latest disaster in the MediterraAFPAnadolu Agency reports.

Tarik Argaz, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency in the North African country, said the Libyan coast guard returned at least 42 survivors to the shore and the capital, Tripoli. Only one body was retrieved from the sea, and 23 others were feared drowned, he said.

The UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee were treating survivors from burns, he added.

On Sunday, five people, including a woman and a child, drowned when a boat carrying at least 45 Europe-bound migrants capsized off Libya. Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organisation for Migration, said fishermen rescued 40 migrants from Sunday’s disaster and returned them to the shore.

The boat was among nine that were carrying more than 700 migrants and that were intercepted Sunday by the Libyan coast guard, she said. The migrants were taken to overcrowded detention centers, where the U.N. migration agency fears more threats to their lives and violations of their rights, Msehli added.

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